It's time to disregard criminal records of gay men convicted of historical offences - Senator Fintan Warfield
Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield has called on the government to honour their commitment to disregard the criminal records of gay men who were convicted of historic offences prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
Senator Warfield said:
“On Wednesday, Sinn Fein will dedicate our Seanad Private Members’ time to ensure that the government honour the commitments they have made to disregard the criminal records of gay men who were convicted of historic offences, prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality.
“The Programme for Government includes a commitment to introduce a scheme for the expunging of criminal records for gay men convicted of historical offences.
“In 2018, on the 25th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the Taoiseach issued an apology to the LGBTQI+ community on behalf of the State.
“Subsequently, the Department of Justice set up a ‘Working Group to Examine the Disregard of Convictions for Certain Qualifying Offences Related to Consensual Sexual Activity between Men’.
“The report of this working group is imminent.
“Government must be drafting legislation as we speak.
“Sinn Fein are calling for a clear timeline to be set out for the introduction of this legislation and a scheme that would disregard these historical convictions.
“The laws repealed by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 were discriminatory. They were contrary to human dignity. They infringed on people’s right to privacy.
“It is now thirty years since homosexuality was decriminalised. It is forty years since the ‘March from Liberty Hall to Fairview Park’. We also mark the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Liberation Movement, established in Trinity College in 1973.
“As we mark fifty years of LGBTQ activism in this state, the records of gay and bisexual men who were criminalised should be disregarded and a process of memorialisation and commemoration should begin to recognise the wider harms of these laws.”